April 18, 2012 The flight to Frankfurt or how we spent a very long day

Today is the start of our trip to Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. We are all really enthused about our journey. John and I rise early and get on the road round 6:45. We pick up Sarah and make our way to the airport. So far the day is going smoothly. Little did we know what lies ahead.

We check in and start the process through security. Before we get to the secure zone, John gets a message. Our flight has been cancelled. We collect our belongings from the bins and tear back to the reservations desk. Indeed, our flight has been cancelled. We need to find a new way to Frankfurt.

Our problem is that we have purchased one ticket but used frequent flyer miles for the other two. We need to find a Star Alliance partner who will honor the two unpaid tickets. The agent at the United desk tries valiantly to rebook us. John is booked on a Lufthansa non-stop for 3 PM today. Sarah and I hang in limbo.

We receive food vouchers for our trouble. The agent suggests we go eat something while she tries to persuade Lufthansa to give us seats. We discover that food vouchers cannot be used for alcohol. Bummer. The call comes through around 11 AM that we should pick up our luggage from the bowels of the terminal and check in at Lufthansa. Hurrah!

When at last we get on the plane, there is one last snag. The jetway will not retract. We are delayed another hour while tow trucks are procured.

Finally we are underway. It is a long flight and by the time we take to the air we have already been at the airport for over eight hours. But, wait, food and drinks are coming. Something to look forward to. The wine is good. John and Sarah have a riesling and I have a chardonnay. We are handed a packet of nuts. What, is this Southwest Airlines? Soon the appetizers come and John and I have the tuna and Sarah has a ricotta, watercress and apricot puree salad. All are good. Especially good when accompanied by pretzel rolls, a family favorite. For the main course Sarah and John have a chicken cassoulet which is not really a cassoulet but tastes good anyway. I have the oddly named gnocchi with vegetables. The gnocchi (plural) consists of a singular potato pancake surrounded by vegetables. But once again it tastes good and what’s in a name anyway.

View of the interior of the Airbus 380

Seared tuna, salad and a pretzel roll

My oddly named potato gnocchi (?) and vegetables

Now we settle down to grind through the next nine hours of flight. Amazingly I sleep for a couple of hours on the exceptionally uncomfortable seats. Sarah and John do not. Movies are watched. Puzzles solved. Music listened to. By the time it is the breakfast hour, we are all crawling out of our skin. Some eggs, a tomato, a few potatoes, a cup of cold tea and we start to get ready for descent. All goes smoothly. We get our rental car and hit the road.

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